Customer Review

10 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Legendary, but no longer worth reading, 13 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Foundation: 1/3 (The Foundation Series) (Paperback)
I first read, and loved, this book 30 years ago, but it hasn't stood the test of time. Asimov couldn't have anticipated the huge technological advances of the last 50 years, and the "advanced civilisations" he describes now sound rather quaint and old fashioned. Information is stored on paper, tape and microfilm (remember that!); the only fuels available are oil, gas and nuclear; the vices of choice are cigars and snuff(!!).

With the sci-fi elements now overtaken by reality, what's left is a series of loosely connected short stories designed to show that, using technology and machiavellian techniques, wars can always be avoided. Given that WWII would have been fresh in the author's mind, this is understandable and laudable. But read now the stories are rather dull and slow, with many long-winded political discussions.
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Tracked by 1 customer

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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 10 Mar 2011 04:57:01 GMT
K. Grunwald says:
Thank you so much for your review. I read this 40 years ago and was about to buy this for a young nephew and was wondering if it had indeed stood the test of time. You have saved him from getting a lousy birthday present :)

Posted on 3 Mar 2012 09:09:42 GMT
M. W. Stone says:
Get him "Pebble in the Sky" instead. It's set in the same universe but makes a better story.

I think I benefited by encountering the Foundation series in reverse order. For my money it improves as it goes along, and "Second Foundation" is a good read. Maybe get him that for his next birthday and see if he's interested enough to bother with the rest.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jun 2012 17:33:05 BDT
K. Grunwald says:
Good lad! Thank you :)

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jun 2012 20:18:15 BDT
Last edited by the author on 14 Jun 2012 20:19:35 BDT
M. W. Stone says:
Thanks.

While on the subject of Asimov, could I stress that for me the Foundation series means only the original trilogy. Don't bother with any of the sequels.

Another Asimov novel that might be worh a try is "The Caves of Steel", a combination of sf and detective fiction. He has also done some good short fiction, and I'd recommend "The Martian Way" and "Nightfall and Other Stories".

BTW, this "lad" is 64. I read those books when they were still comparatively new.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jul 2012 11:38:13 BDT
Big Bad Bill says:
I could not disagree more with M.W. Stone. The two sequels and the two prequels (especially the first of the two prequels) to the original trilogy are all far better reads than the originals. This is mostly because they were written as actual novels rather than short stories. This allows far better character development etc. I also really enjoyed the hunt for Earth in the two sequels. I would have to agree in part with the review, some aspects of these books are very out of date as mentioned, but to be honest (and I have just finished re-reading them) it does not really take too much away from how enjoyable the story is. This is not sci fi in which futuristic technolology plays centre stage.
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K. Ennis
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